Microsoft Training and Certifications Overview Poster

This new online Microsoft poster is an excellent overview of all the certifications available with Microsoft in 2019-2020 and beyond. In my opinion, it is really laid out nicely and I appreciate their clarity with the top level 4 categories:

Apps and Infrastructure; Data and AI; Modern Workplace; Business Application

I personally am focused on the “Apps and Infrastructure”, as that is more in line with my Systems Administration background. But honestly all four areas are very interesting. I have already completed AZ-900 and am now focusing on the Azure Administrator – the below is only a snippet of the entire poster, which lays out possible career paths for all levels of Windows IT pros.

Microsoft Certification Poster condensed URL:

Http://aka.ms/TrainCertPoster

Kubernetes, or K8s

I did not know about the short hand reference to Kubernetes: “K8s”. I am studying to take the Microsoft Azure Administrator certification exam and came across this little fun fact on the Microsoft “Learn” web site, which I am using to prepare. It has great modules for both conceptual and hands-on lab learning. But I must admit, K8s is a new one to me!

Cloud Billing and Surprise Costs

When you are studying for Azure Cloud exams and working off the Microsoft Learn website, then realize your personal Azure account is GROWING

Shocked at the Bill!
Azure All Resources

The reality is that the bulk of these costs is covered, given that the Learn site utilizes sandboxes for on-hands learning. But there were a few situations where using a regular Azure account was required. Also, for the purposes of learning and certification exam preparation, these resources can simply be deleted.

Of course, it is always best to monitor costs. The Azure Management section provides for helpful cost analysis, budget monitoring and optimization tools.

Microsoft Azure Storage Security

I am studying the Microsoft Azure Administrator modules off of the Microsoft “Learn” website. It is a great free resource to learn some of the hottest and most relevant modern Cloud technologies. This one particular area piqued my interest: data storage security. I know that many businesses and various leaders are pessimistic about the protection of their Cloud data. It makes sense. Why would any leader not think about the way in which their organization’s data is stored in the Cloud? To many leaders, the notion of their valuable data being moved to and handled in the Cloud does not necessarily make them feel warm and fuzzy [as we may see in the commercials ;> ]. Instead they have a healthy cynicism of their data handling. I agree with the healthy cynicism.

But Microsoft Azure has many ways in which to secure data. These include, but are not limited to, proper network security rules to block out most or all traffic; access control lists; strict internal roles based access; and good old-fashioned data encryption.

Azure automatically encrypts all data as it is stored or written to the cloud, i.e. is stored “at rest” [meaning, it is sitting on the disk, so to speak]. Any file that is written to Azure storage is encrypted with Storage Service Encryption (SSE). It is 256-bit AES encryption. This is very powerful encryption and is an industry standard. My favorite part of the SSE is that this encryption of the data that gets stored to disk does NOT affect performance. So, there is no degradation whatsoever to services. Encryption involves scrambling of bits and bytes and generally takes some resources, but Microsoft accomplishes this with no hit to resources.

Of course, in addition to the SSE security, the actual virtual disks themselves, if applicable, can be encrypted as well with ‘BitLocker’ for Windows or ‘dm-crypt’ for Linux . But I wanted to focus only on the Storage Security Encryption at this point. And this SSE should help any leader breathe a sigh of relief when thinking about their data security.

Microsoft Learn can be reached here

Microsoft Visual Studio 2019

Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 is looking very sharp! The tools cover almost anything or any area of development you can imagine. For starters, per below, you can see the latest edition goes way beyond the standard IDE, and it crosses into all major platforms, goes into Azure DevOps [for teams ]and the App Center, and in their own words, you can:

Develop apps for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, web, and cloud.”

Switzerland Welcomes Azure Region

“Microsoft Azure available from new cloud regions in Switzerland” – business is booming for Microsoft Azure.

In Switzerland, where we’ve been operating for 30 years, Azure is now available from new cloud datacenter regions located near Zurich and Geneva. More than 30 customer and partner organizations are already using these Azure services. Companies becoming more efficient, innovative, and productive through their usage of Azure in Switzerland include:

  • UBS Group, the world’s largest wealth manager, is using Microsoft Azure cloud technology to modernize many critical business applications, to leverage digital channels, and to rethink how its global workforce collaborates.
  • The Swiss Re Group, one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, insurance, and other forms of insurance-based risk transfer, has chosen us as a strategic partner and preferred public cloud provider. Through their use of technology and our partnership, Swiss Re strives to make insurance simpler and more accessible than ever.
  • Swisscom, the national telecommunications provider, is now offering its customers managed public cloud services delivered via our global infrastructure and new Swiss cloud regions. Swisscom will be the first Swiss telecommunications provider to offer ExpressRoute, a secure, highly available, high-performance, and private connection to Azure services.”

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-azure-available-from-new-cloud-regions-in-switzerland/

Microsoft Azure Sentinel

This new Azure Sentinel offering from Microsoft looks fantastic. It looks to improve the usual “SEIM” offerings out there. SEIM is an acronym for security information and event manager platform. This product or service can be set up and viewed right with Azure, of course.

The usual [overpriced] “SEIM” tools do not quite have the full Cloud ready set of tools available with Sentinel. Sentinel is, in a nutshell:

“Azure Sentinel is a cloud-native security information and event manager (SIEM) platform that uses built-in AI to help analyze large volumes of data across an enterprise—fast. Azure Sentinel aggregates data from all sources, including users, applications, servers, and devices running on-premises or in any cloud, letting you reason over millions of records in a few seconds. “

Azure Sentinel in full